Producer: Bunmi Akajaiye and Victoria Akujobi
Director: Niyi Akinmolayan
Writer: Rita Onwurah
Cast: Lillian Esoro, Amaechi Monoagor, Tina Mba, Niyi Johnson, Dayo Amusa, Judith Audu, Nedu, and Kenneth Okolie
Inter-tribal marriage is an interesting and wild topic to tackle in a film. One fantastic film about intertribal marriage is “Christian Marriage”; it features a host of exceptional actors such as Patience Ozokwor, Franca Brown, Eucharia Anunobi. They are all mothers from different denominations, and of different tribes. They train their children from birth to marry only from their tribe. If you are Igbo, marry Igbo. If you are Hausa, marry only Hausa. “Christian Marriage” is an exaggeration of the lack of tolerance for other ethnic groups, but it offers an interesting point on the disapproval of inter-tribal marriage. Meet the In-Laws is a lighter and more humorous depiction of the disapproval for inter-tribal marriage.
Ify (Lilian Esoro) and Dapo (Niyi Johnson) do not have a hard time falling in love after meeting for the first time. Sparks fly and a bond is created. They get engaged and on a normal day, this should call for a celebration. In Nigeria, it calls for a deliberation from the parents on what is needed for the bride-price, or the colors of the Aso-ebi, but in Meet the In-Laws, there is no joy, only disapproval.
Dapo’s mother, for example, exclaims, “Iya-Igbo? What happened to Yewande, Yetunde, or Iyabo”?
Ify’s father questions her about Ejike, Obi, and Chijoke. For both parents, marriage should be a business between two people, who can communicate in the same dialect. Both parents make this an emphasis. While Ify’s mother is in support of the union, her father rejects it. Dapo’s father is also in support, but his mother rejects it.
When the families finally agree to meet, we realize that these two families have ‘history’ and both harbor ill will & resentment towards the other. The fighting continues and it is only when the couple elopes that the families settle their bias.
Meet the In-Laws is a comedy. Its purpose is to send a message by inciting laughter and it does this effectively. Rita Onwurah crafts a film that is not too serious; it tackles the issue of tribal hate lightly, and humorously.
The actors work with a fantastic script that earns them special credit. Lillian Esoro as Ify is great. In one spectacular scene, where Dapo pays her father a visit, her father launches an attack on Dapo and Yoruba people. He does this in Igbo; Ify keeps a smile on her face. She creates the illusion that her father is saying nice things about her fiancé. Dapo smiles about this. He has no idea that snidely remarks are being passed about him. That scene is one among many that explore the use of a Nigerian language. The scene ends up the best in the film.
The exchange that continuously happens in Igbo and Yoruba is the spice of the film. Tina Mba, as always does a glorious job. Another exceptional performance is from Kenneth Okolie. He is Chijoke and acts in a supporting role; he brings pure humor to his role by speaking in an Igbo accent and embodying every characteristic of a desperate lover.
Meet the In-Laws is enjoyable. It has the perfect timing too. You will have a good time watching this one; you can catch it on iRoko TV.
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